May 14, 2024

Moore Wants More In ’24

2024 BC Lions Training Camp on Tuesday, May 14. Steven Chang/BC Lions

Kamloops- A lowlight of the BC Lions’ 2023 campaign proved to be a major turning point for an unheralded rookie on the defensive line. After his first full training camp experience resulted in a spot on the practice roster, Marcus Moore got his first taste of game action as an injury replacement at Winnipeg in early August.

The lopsided defeat resulted in the Lions losing their clear path to a first- place finish in the West but one of the few highlights for the visitors was a rare defensive tackle interception by Moore that helped the young rookie feel he did indeed belong.

“That within itself was a phenomenal experience,” said Moore following Tuesday’s practice in the Tournament Capital.

“I tried to score. Couldn’t quite get there (laughs), but the guys came over and jumped all around me. It wasn’t the result we wanted that game, not even close, but it will go down as a special memory for my debut.”

Moore was on the active roster for one more regular season game and then for both playoff contests. Back in Winnipeg for the Western Final in mid-November, he notched three defensive tackles and got his first true taste of big-game experience.

Fast forward to the present. Back for a second camp go-around in black and orange, a leaner and fitter Moore definitely wants more in 2024. Turnovers are a given, but wins are the goal and the Pasadena, California native is taking full advantage of his experience gained as a pro.

“I’m very well suited compared to last year,” he explained.

“Learning from guys like (Josh) Banks, (Nathan) Cherry and Tibo (Debaillie), and now this year even picking up some stuff from the younger guys, for me, you can definitely say there’s growth. You definitely pick up things faster from the playbook to communication at the line. It’s been a nice change.”

That growth has also been evident to the coaching staff.

“He knows the pace of the game,” defensive line coach John Bowman said.

“Say I’m here in my rookie year, I don’t know all that’s happening. I got back home, I digest it. Now my cardio is better, I know the tempo of the game. Marcus and all these other vets know the process of play calling from RP. It’s just way less thinking. They all become more fluid with everything.”

Outside of putting the work in to get in better shape for year two, Moore enjoyed some holiday time in Miami with his crew of former UCLA teammates that include some current NFL players: Miami Dolphins’ linebacker Jaelen Phillips and Dallas Cowboys’ defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa are among that group.

Back and slimmed down for a second year, Marcus Moore is building off previous experience and his UCLA posse on the improved defensive line.

Marcus Moore (left) and Pete Robertson get coached up by John Bowman at 2024 BC Lions Training Camp in Kamloops. Photo: Steven Chang, BC Lions.

Before transferring to Utah State for his final two seasons and earning an All-Mountain West honourable mention in 2020, Moore was a UCLA Bruin from 2016-18 and saw action in 17 games after sitting out his first year as a true redshirt freshman. It was in the Pac-12 where he fully embraced the grind of putting in extra work where needed.

“That first year, I came in with all of my boys that I’m still close with,” he said.

“When enter with the same recruiting class, you just bond with those guys. We had our big group chat. That year was a big highlight for me, personally and professionally. It’s no different than camp here. You move into the dorms and you just go from there.”

If the early days of training camp are any indication, Lion fans will be treated to a deeper and nastier defensive front this season. The impact of Christian Covington and Pete Robertson has been evident from the time veterans arrived in Kamloops. Having second-year guys like Moore back in the fold only further complements that group.

Seeing that we’ve mentioned the reigning Western Division champion Blue Bombers a couple of times already, it’s no wonder team brass made a point of addressing these key areas in the trenches.

“Everyone is out here with a purpose,” Bowman added.

“I was telling these guys earlier, if we beat a spark then everyone is going to catch fire. We like setting the tone. Everybody is competing, from the starters right down to the last group. When you feel like you have a chance, you’re going to give it your all.”

Moore has definitely epitomized that mindset through three days. Now the goal is to become a mainstay.